The Crown Tower is the first book in the new The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan.
In 2011 I had the pleasure and fortune of discovering The Riyria Revelations series by Michael J. Sullivan, a series that soon after became one of my all time favorite series. But that wasn’t all; The Riyria Revelations series and Mrs. Sullivan amazing writing also made me fall in love all over again with the fantasy genre. Since reading The Riyria Revelations fantasy has become one of my favorite genres, one I read constantly.
I was ecstatic when I learned Mr. Sullivan was writing this book/series and couldn’t wait to read it and let me tell you The Crown Tower was everything I was expecting it to be and more. I really didn’t know how much I had missed Hadrian and Royce until I read The Crown Tower.
The Riyria Chronicles is a prequel series to The Riyria Revelations. In this new series we will learn how Hadrian and Royce came to be the best friends and partners we love, we will also see first hand adventures we just heard about in passing in The Riyria Revelations. This doesn’t mean you need to read The Riyria Revelations first, if you haven’t read them there is no problem, it’ll be completely ok to start with The Riyria Chronicles (The Crown Tower) and move from here to The Riyria Revelations.
The Crown Tower takes place twelve years before the events in first book of The Riyria Revelations, Theft of Swords (this omnibus contains The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha).
In The Crown Tower we see how Hadrian and Royce met, we also see how Gwen came to be an important part in the lives of this amazing duo.
Ok, let me go back and start from the beginning. After being informed of his father’s death Hadrian Blackwater decides to leave his soldiering days behind and travels to the University to met with professor Arcadius who has something his father left for him. In the University Arcadius introduces Royce Melborn to Hadrian and with some machinations force them to work together. Their objective will be to steal a book from the Crown Tower.
Hadrian with his easy going way is willing to humor Arcadius, but Royce is not that agreeable, he’s used to work and be alone, the last thing Royce wants is a partner, even if it’s a temporary one. Arcadius is not easily assuaged and pulling some strings he forced the partnership. Without a way out Hadrian and the reluctant Royce slowly start to work together. But after some tribulations what neither of them was expecting was to discover a kindred soul in the other.
I can’t say how much I loved Hadrian and Royce in this book. I loved to see that Hadrian despite having done things he despised during his soldiering days he still conserves some innocence in him. He has done what he thought needed to be done, he tried to find a life using his sword but realized that life wasn’t for him; his good heart wouldn’t let him continue on that course.
Royce has been one of my all time favorite characters. I loved him before and I love him even more now after reading The Crown Tower. Seeing this new Royce, the one that only has had a difficult life and has known nothing but mistreatment and betrayal almost broke my heart. In this book Royce was almost like a street dog, battered by others and completely distrustful when people show him any kind of courtesy.
I loved that despise the harsh façade he wears as an armor we were able to see some glimpses of the man he one day will become and it was a pleasure to see when he left his dark humor shine.
In The Crown Tower we also get Gwen’s point of view. It was great to see why and how she came to be in Royce and Hadrian’s lives. I loved how strong she was and seeing every ordeal she has to suffered and survived to get where she needed to be only made me like her even more. I know I’m being a bit ambiguous about this but I can’t say more without giving spoilers away.
I really tried to write this review without gushing but it has been almost impossible because this book made me want to squeal like a teen in a Justin Bieber concert. Mr. Sullivan knows his way around words and brings to life fabulous multilayered characters. The world he has created for this series is so vivid and realistic you just need to close your eyes to be right there with these lovely characters. The action is perfectly paced and the humor and tension are masterfully balanced making of The Crown Tower a book impossible to put down.
I can’t recommend you The Crown Tower enough. If you like fantasy this book is a Must Read for you. Believe me, go read it, and thank me later.
I’m eagerly looking forward to next book in this series, The Rose and the Thorn.
Last but not least I need to publicly thank Mr. Sullivan’s wife, Robin. Thanks to her we have these new books; she convinced used her wife’s wiles on Mr. Sullivan to write more books about Hadrian and Royce and for this I will be forever grateful to her.